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Breed likely winner as ballot count continues

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Mayoral candidate Supervisor London Breed smiles as she greets people at an Election Day luncheon at John’s Grill. Breed has expanded her lead over Mark Leno in the latest ballot count for San Francisco’s mayoral election. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Board of Supervisors president London Breed added to her lead in San Francisco’s mayoral race Tuesday by 260 votes and is the likely winner over former state Sen. Mark Leno.

There remain just under 10,000 ballots to count in the race since last week’s election and Breed has yet to declare victory, but political observers say she appears to have won.

“[Leno’s] chances are slim to none, and it looks like slim is leaving town,” said Jason McDaniel, associate political science professor at San Francisco State University. “Given everything we have seen so far, it is highly improbable that Leno gains almost 1,900 votes on Breed after all the remaining 9,400 ballots are counted.”

Breed is now ahead of Leno by 1,861 votes under ranked-choice voting, or 111,446 votes, 50.42 percent, to Leno’s 109,585 votes, 49.58 percent, according to the latest tally announced by the Department of Elections Tuesday. The department has counted 9,208 ballots since Monday, when Breed’s lead was 1,601 votes. While Leno led last Wednesday, his lead continued to decrease with each daily update until Breed overtook him on Saturday. From then on, Breed’s lead has continued to increase.

There are 9,390 ballots left to count. Department of Elections Director John Arntz said he expects to count nearly all ballots by Friday.

“It’s done, I think,” said David Latterman, principal at the political consulting firm Brick Circle Advisor. He said for Leno to prevail he would need to see the remaining votes swing his way by some “astronomical percentage.”

Leno is scheduled to address the media on Thursday, according to Leno’s campaign spokesperson Zoë Kleinfeld. He is currently out of town and will return late Wednesday. “We are waiting to honor the votes of each and every person who turned out in this election,” Kleinfeld said. She added that it’s an “incredibly close race.”

Tara Moriarty, Breed’s campaign spokesperson, said that they are not declaring victory at this time.

As of Tuesday, the department had counted 244,398 ballots, or 50.71 percent of the registered voters. Among first choice votes, Breed leads at 36.56 percent of the votes, or 88,257, which is 11.9 percentage points higher than Leno.

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